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Rick’s Father’s Day Gift: A Run with Helen

Rick P (and Helen)

One day last week when I came home from a run, our 16-year-old daughter Helen was at the door and said "I'm going out for a run too." She follows an intense exercise program at the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) and she has been running on-and off with local girls in the neighborhood.  I sort of shocked myself and asked if I could join her. 😮 To my surprise she said OK, so we did a lap around Tompkins Square Park - our first ever run together! 😍


Part of what made going for that run with Helen so special is the efforts that my wife Lee and I made over the years to offer our kids the opportunity to enjoy running. Lee and I met as CRCA USCF bike racers back in the mid 90's.  Lots of stories but she pioneered running in our house, I didn't start running until I retired from competition in 2003.  Lee isn't running now but I keep hoping she'll return to it.  Helen getting out there might be the key. 


Our three kids, Helen (now 16), Axel (13) and Elsa (11) went to school at PS 110 on the Lower East Side where we became aware of Five Points Runners Track Club. This fantastic kids program is coached by local runners John Wiltshire and Lydia Vanderloo.

Here are some photos from our running journey throughout the years with our children.

Lee running a NYRR race with Helen In-Utero
Axel looking doubtful about my Marathon prospect

NYRR Mothers Day Kids Race in CP

Elsa supporting Axel at Ocean Breeze
Helen (with Elsa) at her 1st 5 Points 6th Street Track Workout

Axel's 1st in-uniform XC Race at Van Cortland Park

Helen supporting Axel at a race

These were nice memories but looking back, running didn't "stick" at the time.  Helen dropped running after a couple of Five Points workouts.  "I didn't win."  That's Helen!  Axel did a few events but dropped it right after getting a 3rd place finish in his heat at the Ocean Breeze meet.  "It's too hard!"  Oh well....  Elsa never got into running but is killing it in girls softball.  

Elsa and the PSLL 10U Softball team that just won the citywide Memorial Day Tournament. Undefeated.

I only wanted to make the opportunity to run available for my kids, not push when they said no. Helen gaining interest on her own terms and saying yes to going running with me was a very big deal. 

I can only hope it continues.


-Rick P.